Juha Itkonen nominated for the 2020 Nordic Council Literature Prize

20 Feb 2020

We warmly congratulate Juha Itkonen, who has been nominated for the 2020 Nordic Council Literature Prize for his book Beyond Our Reach (In Finnish ‘Ihmettä kaikki’, published by Otava in 2018).

Quote from the jury:

“Close to death and life is when we are at our most fragile and vulnerable: confusion and clarity both abound. This is where Itkonen leads the reader – courageously and openly, towards the difficult, the painful and the uncertain. It says a lot about the author’s skill that he superbly manages to combine sharp-sighted and analytical observation with an extremely moving and intimate narrative style. The result is this novel, which is shockingly sensitive in all its undauntedness.”

Beyond Our Reach is an autobiographical novel about an extraordinary year in the life of the acclaimed author and now father of four, Juha Itkonen and his family. When Rose’s waters suddenly break far too early during pregnancy, the couple has to make a heart-breaking decision on the life of their unborn baby and a rift opens between them. Less than a year later, Rose gives birth to two very premature twins and a struggle for life begins. The book is a deeply touching account told by a modern father who despite all efforts and commitment, has no option but to be an outsider. As one of the most talented and beloved Finnish writers of his generation Juha Itkonen has written several novels that capture the spirit of the era with true-to-life details and well-drawn characters in sensitive narration on love and family relationships. As a Nordic writer his narration has a melancholic tone, but also understanding, shading light and giving hope.

When published in Finland, Beyond Our Reach ranked immediately among the top bestsellers. The title will be published in German by Bastei Lübbe as ‘Mehr als wir uns erträumten’ in the end of February 2020. Swedish rights have been sold to Förlaget M.

The Nordic Council Literature Prize is awarded annually to a literary work written in one of the Nordic languages, that meets high literary and artistic standards. See all the nominated candidates and the motivations for their nominations here! The winner will be announced on 27 October at an awards ceremony in Reykjavik. Interested in hearing more and receiving reading materials of Beyond Our Reach? Please let us know!